Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Convergence IX: Panasonic Pop-Up TV


Here's a good little Panasonic radio & TV combo unit that I still watch from time to time (I like watching a lot of old black & white TV anyway).  It's got AM & FM Radio, a typically cheap all-bass all-the-time cheapie speaker, and even has (heavy!) built in rechargeable batteries.  Of course you can get VHF & UHF on it (is it a sign of my advancing age that pretty much everything I watch is on UHF?)  What makes the Panasonic unusual though is that the TV tucks away neatly into the base for portability.

The pop-up section has two benefits.  It keeps the overall unit smaller (after looking at this, you can imagine how much empty space would be left over in a more conventional cabinet).  It also puts the image at a pleasing angle when the unit is on a desktop near you; something that contemporary electronics designers would do well to remember.

Panasonic exploited the space savings by offering a much larger screen than normal.  While many portable TV's have an image that is only an inch or two across, this one offers a five inch picture and it makes a big difference.  The Panasonic even has an RF input  - great for hooking up a Pong game to it! 

Panasonic_popupThe equivalent TV today would be much smaller of course, and offer more than two colors, but this set is worthy of interest because back then you had to be pretty clever to offer a TV this small.  It's all analog of course - the main tuning knob clearly means business, as does the power switch, and there's not a distracting power LED to be seen anywhere.

Most important is that you can quickly squirrel away the TV when the boss walks by, and he thinks that you're just listening to a dusty and outdated clock radio with... er, um... no clock.


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